Level 1 Junior
Level 2 Intermediate
Level 3 Senior
Level 4 Master

BCSSA Officials - Referee


Referees are expected to act in many capacities. They are the final judges, the guarantors of fair play for all competitors, and the directors of the proceedings. Their discipline and conduct will be reflected in the way in which the meet progresses. They are the key to a successful competition. The Referee is in full charge of the session and has the final authority on all action taking place during the session.

A Referee is expected to:

  • Be an experienced official, knowledgeable in all areas.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of the rules.
  • Be impartial.
  • Be able to make sound judgments, quickly.
  • Be consistent.
  • Be able to concentrate on a number of tasks simultaneously.
  • Continually oversee all of the deck officials.
  • Anticipate problems and head them off.

Depending on the meet and the resources available, there may be one to three Referees:

The Meet Referee:

  • Before the competition begins, the Meet Referee determines and informs the officials of all respective zones of stroke and turn responsibility.
  • The Meet Referee ensures that the swimmers in all lanes have fair and equal judging and that all zones are equitably judged.
  • A Meet Referee is appointed for the entire meet and has the full authority over all officials, approves their assignment and sees that they receive all necessary instruction.
  • The Meet Referee is responsible for uniformity throughout the meet.
  • The Meet Referee may advise the Session Referee of any areas in which the Meet Referee's instructions are not being followed. If necessary, the Meet Referee may replace the Session Referee.
  • The Meet Referee shall only be a part of the session when invited by the Session Referee to take over a position or deal with any problems.

The Session Referee:

  • When there is no Meet Referee the Session Referee has full authority over all
    officials, approves their assignment and ensures that they receive all necessary instruction.
  • The Session Referee enforces all of the rules of BCSSA and decides all questions related to the conduct of the session, including those not covered by the rules.
  • The Session Referee has the authority to intervene during a competition at any stage to ensure that the rules are observed.
  • The Session Referee shall disqualify any swimmer for any violation of the rule that are personally observed or that are reported by other authorized officials.
  • The Session Referee has final authority in all matters concerning apparent ties and time discrepancies, and ensures that the rules covering such instances are adhered to.
  • The Session Referee checks that all officials are ready and in position when the swimmers are at their assigned starting stations. When satisfied, the referee signals the swimmers to either mount their blocks or enter the water by using a long whistle blast. When all swimmers are ready, the referee turns the race over to the Starter using a second long whistle blast.
  • The Session Referee ensures that a fair start is achieved, and has the authority to call a false start when appropriate.
  • The Session Referee takes a sweep of the order of finish of each race.
  • The Session Referee has the authority to use any BCSSA approved timing and /or judging system or equipment and may overrule the findings of such devices when the findings appear to be in error.
  • The Session Referee has the authority to expel from the pool building or area any persons, including spectators, responsible for creating a disturbance that interferes with the meet.
  • The Session Referee ensures that all disqualified swimmers and/or teams are notified of their disqualification.
  • The Session Referee interprets the Rules and applies good judgment in situations not adequately covered by the Rules.

The Assistant or Back-up Referee:

  • The Assistant Referee should be familiar with all aspects of the position of Session Referee.
  • The Assistant Referee has no other authority on the deck except for  responsibilities explicitly assigned by the Meet or Session Referees.
  • The Assistant Referee may perform any function of the Session Referee either temporarily, or for the duration of the session.

References: A Referee must have a working knowledge of all parts of the rulebook

(Source: BCSSA Clinician's Guide)